THE HORSE AND THE TURTLE - a Jamaican Anansi Story - Baba Indaba Children's Stor


and the TURTLE


A Jamaican Anansi Story


Narrated by Baba Indaba




Published By

Abela Publishing, London



The HORSE and the TURTLE.



Typographical arrangement of this edition

©Abela Publishing 2016



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Abela Publishing,

London, United Kingdom




ISSN 2397-9607

Issue 61




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www. abelapublishing.com





Baba Indaba, pronounced Baaba Indaaba, lived in Africa a long-long time ago. Indeed, this story was first told by Baba Indaba to the British settlers over 250 years ago in a place on the South East Coast of Africa called Zululand, which is now in a country now called South Africa.


In turn the British settlers wrote these stories down and they were brought back to England on sailing ships. From England they were in turn spread to all corners of the old British Empire, and then to the world.


In olden times the Zulu’s did not have computers, or iPhones, or paper, or even pens and pencils. So, someone was assigned to be the Wenxoxi Indaba (Wensosi Indaaba) – the Storyteller. It was his, or her, job to memorise all the tribe’s history, stories and folklore, which had been passed down from generation to generation for thousands of years. So, from the time he was a young boy, Baba Indaba had been apprenticed to the tribe’s Wenxoxi Indaba to learn the stories. Every day the Wenxoxi Indaba would narrate the stories and Baba Indaba would have to recite the story back to the Wenxoxi Indaba, word for word. In this manner he learned the stories of the Zulu nation.


In time the Wenxoxi Indaba grew old and when he could no longer see or hear, Baba Indaba became the next in a long line of Wenxoxi Indabas. So fond were the children of him that they continued to call him Baba Indaba – the Father of Stories.


When the British arrived in South Africa, he made it his job to also learn their stories. He did this by going to work at the docks at the Point in Port Natal at a place the Zulu people call Ethekwene (Eh-tek-weh-nee). Here he spoke to many sailors and ships captains. Captains of ships that sailed to the far reaches of the British Empire – Canada, Australia, India, Mauritius, the Caribbean and beyond.

He became so well known that ship’s crew would bring him a story every time they visited Port Natal. If they couldn’t, they would arrange to have someone bring it to him. This way his library of stories grew and grew until he was known far and wide as the keeper of stories – a true Wenxoxi Indaba of the world.


Baba Indaba believes the tale he is about to tell in this little book, and all the others he has learned, are the common property of Umntwana (Children) of every nation in the world – and so they are and have been ever since men and women began telling stories, thousands and thousands of years ago.

Where in the World – Look it Up!

This next story was told to him by a sailor from Annotto Bay. Can you find Annotto Bay on a map? What country is it in?

The HORSE and the TURTLE.

A Jamaican Anansi Story



A story, a story

Let it come, let it go

A story, a story

From long, long ago!


Horse bet Turtle say a get to Kingston before him. Turtle bet him say him will get to Kingston before him, Brar Horse. An’ Turtle tak up one of him pickney an’ drop dem ev’ry mile-post, an’ drop de last one in at Kingston at de wharf-house, tell ‘im ‘em going for a sack of salt. An’ de night when dem start, as Brar Horse catch to de firs’ mile-post an’ sing out in a harsh note,

I-ya-a ya-o sa, nom-be, ya-o ya ya-o sa-a, nom-be,
a nom-be, sa-ka be-ne sa-bi-na, nom-be, ya ya-o sa, a, nom-be.


Turtle answer quite yonder, soft an’ sweet,

I-ya-a ya-o sa-a, nom-be, ya-o sa ya-o sa-a, nom-be,
se sa-ka be-ne sa-bi-na, nom-be, ya ya-o sa-a, nom-be.

Horse say, “Well! Brar Turtle gone!” Gallop, draw rein an’ ‘pur As he get to de nex’ mile-post, hear,

“I-ya-a ya-o sa, nom-be, ya-o ya.”

Gallop an’ gallop till he get to de nex’ mile-post. Turtle sing,

“I-ya-a ya-o sa, nom-be, ya-o ya.”

Trabbel on, ride on, ride on, ride on, catch to de nex’ mile-post, sing out,

“I-ya-a ya-o sa, nom-be, ya-o ya.”

Turtle answer de same song quite at de mile-post,—

“I-ya-a ya-o sa, nom-be, ya-o ya.”

As Horse catch to dat mile-post go in to Kingston, he drop down dead!


Umntwana, here ends my story.


good words and good deeds are food,

bad words and bad deeds are poison.



Salagahle umntwana!

(Salla-gah-shle Um’n-twaan-ah

Stay well my children!)




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THE HORSE AND THE TURTLE - a Jamaican Anansi Story - Baba Indaba Children's Stor

ISSN: 2397-9607 Issue 61 In Issue 61 of the Baba Indaba Children's Stories, Baba Indaba narrates the Jamaican Anansi story of the bet between the Turtle and the Horse – in effect the Jamaican Anansi version of the hare and the tortoise. Written in pidgin English, this story must be spoken with a Jamaican accent. The story is accompanied by sheet music for a calypso-style ditty about the tale. It is believed that folklore and tales are believed to have originated in India and made their way overland along the Silk and Spice routes and through Central Asia before arriving in Europe. Even so, this does not cover all folklore from all four corners of the world. Indeed folklore, legends and myths from Africa, Australia and Polynesia, are altogether quite different and seem to have originated on the whole from separate reservoirs of lore, legend and culture. This book also has a "Where in the World - Look it Up" section, where young readers are challenged to look up a place on a map somewhere in the world. The place, town or city is relevant to the story, on map. HINT - use Google maps. Baba Indaba is a fictitious Zulu storyteller who narrates children's stories from around the world. Baba Indaba translates as "Father of Stories".

  • Author: Abela Publishing
  • Published: 2016-04-15 09:05:09
  • Words: 895
THE HORSE AND THE TURTLE - a Jamaican Anansi Story - Baba Indaba Children's Stor THE HORSE AND THE TURTLE - a Jamaican Anansi Story - Baba Indaba Children's Stor